Friday, April 28, 2017

The Sawmill Fire: The least they could not do

When it comes to public safety, the Arizona state government sometimes does the least possible. And sometimes, often, our government does not even do that.

For example, consider the matter of driving while distracted. (That’s my generic term that includes driving while using a cell phone - either for texting or for voice.) I’ve covered the issue and what scientific research has to say (cell phone use is right up their with driving while legally drunk) in Ducey should sign SB 1080 (texting while driving). Here’s why. It was like pulling teeth in the lege to get SB 1080 to Gov. Ducey’s desk. But he did finally sign it. Howard Fischer writes in the Daily Star Ban on new drivers using cell phones behind the wheel now Arizona law. The ban only covers teens but adults are just as likely to be impaired while using a cell phone. So SB 1080 is the least AZ could do.

The Sawmilll Fire has now consumed over 40,000 acres. Check out these photos. We know the cause, now reported by the Star and GV News, as relayed by the Tucson Sentinel in GV News: Border Patrol confirms off-duty agent tied to Sawmill Fire.

The man was firing at exploding targets when brush apparently ignited near Box Canyon and Santa Rita Ranch at about 11 a.m. He tried to put out the blaze, then called to report it. He later turned himself in, according to the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Exploding targets? WTF! That’s a new one for me. I never heard of that before now. So here is one of many videos on youtube. It shows some gun nuts blasting away, hootin’ and hollerin’ as they shoot containers of explosives. Now to be fair, all that was done in what appears to be a barren old quarry with no combustibles in sight. But that was not the case here in Southern Arizona.

The KGUN9 report this morning focused on ranchers worried about whether the fire would reach their homes and herds. He reported that ranchers dodged a bullet until the next time “nature” threatens. Nonsense. “Nature” didn’t start this fire. The Border Patrol dufus shooting exploding targets did that.

Here’s the thing. Exploding targets is a big business. They are sold over the internet (Amazon) and in sporting goods stores (Cabela’s). (Just Google “exploding targets” for lots more.) And such targets are legal in Arizona. Nothing stops any dips#!t with a rifle and an exploding target from setting another fire.

The firefighting effort has cost about $1.6 million thus far, the Green Valley News reported.

Exploding targets are an instance of what our government should do (legislate against them) but does not do.

Preventing such incidents is the least they could not do.

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